Gardening for flies 4. Use Baccharis.

I recently witnessed and photographed an incredible assemblage of insects. They were on flowering female plants of Baccharis ‘Centennial’, a widely available hybrid of a plant commonly known around here as “coyote bush”. It was used extensively in what we call the 1913 Garden at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, where I work.

For the last couple of weeks, the plants have been swarming with insects, including many Diptera. In fact, I was first alerted to the situation by Richard Hayden, our Head Gardener, who described a swarm of flies in the area. We went to check it out, and I had my first view of the seething mass of insects on and around the plants, apparently feeding on nectar.

The following photos are only a few of the flies on this swath of Baccharis in downtown L.A. I suggest using this plant in any insect-friendly landscape.

a female bibionid

little blood-red flower fly

thick-headed fly

6 comments to Gardening for flies 4. Use Baccharis.

  1. Jeff Bjorck says:

    Very cool! I have considered possibly using coyotebush on my slope somewhere. Maybe we could get those Australian Flatfooters to return!

  2. Soraya Uribe Celis says:

    Hermosas fotos.

  3. I’ve never seen a thick-headed fly before… awesome! It looks so bulbous and strange. I love it!

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